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The Sun Is Also a Star (Yoon, Nicola) Hardcover – November 1, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of November 2016: Over the course of a single day in New York City, two teenagers who have nothing in common randomly meet and fall in love. Now I know that sounds absurdly cliché, but somehow in Nicola Yoon’s hands, it doesn’t read that way. Natasha is a practical young woman trying to keep her family from being deported in a matter of hours. Daniel is a poet at heart, but on this day he is dutifully making good on his familial commitment to a college interview. The two are inexplicably drawn to each other and somehow their paths keep converging. The novel is told in alternating points of view, and one of the special touches of Yoon’s book are the chapters narrated by people who are unintentionally part of Natasha and Daniel’s story, mirroring our almost spooky interconnectedness. The Sun is Also a Star is a thought-provoking story of possibility, fate, and the illogical beauty of love. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—It is Natasha's last day in New York City, where she has lived for 10 years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are being deported to Jamaica after her father's arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. She wants the normal teen existence of her peers. Meanwhile, poetic Daniel is on his way to an interview as part of his application process to Yale. He is under great pressure to get in because his parents (who emigrated from South Korea) are adamant that he become a doctor. Events slowly conspire to bring the two leads together. When Daniel and Natasha finally meet, he falls in love immediately and convinces her to join him for the day. They tell their stories in alternating chapters. Additional voices are integrated into the book as characters interact with them. Both relatable and profound, the bittersweet ending conveys a sense of hopefulness that will resonate with teens. VERDICT This wistful love story will be adored by fans of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park and by those who enjoyed the unique narrative structure of A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
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And that's this book more or less in a nutshell. I knew exactly what was going to happen in this book. You know, too. These two crazy kids were going to fall in love, and it would change their lives forever. But the journey they take to get there... it's still awe inspiring.
How does Nicola Yoon even do this? Because when I read the blurb for this book I was not impressed. However, having enjoyed Everything, Everything I took a chance on it. Boy, am I glad I did. I think The Sun is Also a Star exceeds its predecessor. Yoon has an amazing talent for telling beautiful, heartwarming stories using lovely prose that is in no way fussy or overworked.
We follow the tale of Daniel and Natasha, two strangers who fate seems determined to push together. Daniel is the son of Korean immigrants who want him to go to Yale and become a doctor-- and they aren't really asking. Daniel does not want to displease his parents, but he is a natural poet who finds meaning in words rather than science. Natasha is the exact opposite. She doesn't even believe in love, much less love from first sight. Natasha's father is a failed actor, and the resentment she feels towards him has made her abandon any thought of have passion or dreams. The day Natasha and Daniel meet is a pivotal point for both of them. Daniel has an interview for Yale. Natasha is about to be deported. One day with someone can't possibly be enough to fall in love with them... right?
Even though I gave this book 5 stars, and it deserved it, I still can't help but nitpick a little. There are a lot of perspective shifts in this book, some in first person and others in third, and sometimes that interrupted the flow of the story for me. I also thought the very ending was a bit reminiscent of Yoon's first book.
If you're a fan of charming romances, pick this one up. You won't regret it.
*Small spoiler* While I think many individuals are noting that this appears to have the predictable ending, I would argue that it does NOT -- this was just pointed out to me by one of my sharp-eyed students (I'm a high school English teacher and I always pass my books along). A careful reader might note the subtitles below each chapter title -- and therefore, the Epilogue - and perhaps even the last chapter prior to that - should not be considered a part of the novel's primary plot. The last true chapter reflects an individual favoring Natasha's initial perspective, somewhat cynical and very factual based while the Epilogue *<insert other character's name to avoid any spoiler> an Alternate History favors a reader with a more romantic perspective, like Daniel's primary worldview. However, the fact that the Epilogue is subtitled an Alternate History kind of implies that it didn't actually happen. In which case, my heart broke for other reasons not related to Natasha or Daniel. Overall, I just thoroughly enjoyed this book as it definitely strays from the YA predictable norm, in my humble opinion.
Like Everything, Everything, this novel centers on the two young people of far different backgrounds and cultures, who fall in love. Natasha is from Jamaica originally, and Daniel is Korean, but born in America. They meet because of what someone might consider 'bad luck', but if fate is at work, as Daniel believes, then everything is a set up because they were meant to fall in love. Natasha relies on science and doesn't believe in love, expect as a chemical reaction. Her father's dream of becoming a great actor has shown her the folly of following your dream, so she follows numbers and decides to be a data specialist, at until her father comes home with a DUI and an order to leave the country he's been staying in illegally for the past nine years. Desperate to stay, Natasha is offered the help of a lawyer, and while on her way to meet with him, she has a series of events that lead her to Daniel, who is also at a crossroads in his life. If he doesn't go to Yale and become a doctor, his parents will cut him off.
I love the way Yoon gives a snippets of the people who influence the two lovers lives, helping them to find their fate and meet. Yoon even gives us short definitions of Fate, and how our eyes work, when Daniel suggests that he and Natasha stare into each other's in order to fall in love scientifically.
Beautifully written, this novel touched my heart and made me feel like magic is still working in our world, even if it's hard to see sometimes.